UBI CARITAS ET AMOR. DEUS IBI EST.
Monday, 4 July 2022
Sunday, 3 July 2022
As we progress and "mature" in our Christianity, we become more aware and increasingly sensitive to the wrongs around us.
What in the past we merely observed as a wrong done by others, we now feel deeply the wrongs that surround us and the way they affect others. Even if we are not directly involved in others' suffering, and we are mere spectators, our closeness to Christ makes us feel and share the hurt done to people we have never met directly, but have only heard about them in the news.
So in sharing with their grief, albeit privately, and in feeling helpless perhaps in our ability to change the situation; where does that leave us in terms of Christ's commandment to love one another?
Love for the "victim", the needy, the destitute and the oppressed in the wrong-doings may come naturally to us. But what is our obligation to love the cause of the wrong-doing. Whether it be an individual, or a situation or circumstances?
Central to all occurrences in this world is God's love.
As a caring Father He loves His creations whatever the circumstances and whatever our behaviour and conduct. He is well aware that individuals, whilst exercising their freedom to choose, have chosen the wrong path, more likely influenced by the evil one. Yet, despite the transgressions of such people, He still loves them as would any parent whose children have wandered off to follow their own path.
God's love is never changed or untouched by the events of this world or the behaviour of the human race. It is this very love that allows some to wander from the path of righteousness and follow their own will. To do otherwise would mean to interfere with the very gift of self-will which He has bestowed upon us.
God's love is a place of safety for every trusting soul whatever the power of darkness can manifest on this world.
Our sensitivity to such darkness should be tempered by the knowledge and conviction that God's love will conquer in the end; indeed, has done so already at the Cross when Christ had overcome the world.
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)
Friday, 1 July 2022
Every so often I am inclined to do some research and share my findings with you. How inclined I am depends on the number of whiskies I have had.
Today, I would like to share with you some good health advice and information. There's so much advice on the net these days on what to do about this and that; but how can you be so sure that it is all accurate, truthful and reliable? The answer is you really cannot. You take the information at face value and hope it is not fake or false. So you might as well take my advice. It's as truthful as anything else out there.
We start about headaches. They can start as small tiny headaches or develop into real migraines. Many people take various pills for headaches. But a natural remedy is to sit down, place your hand flat on a table, and then hit it hard with a mallet. The pain in your hand will soon make you forget your headache.
As summer approaches people think of going on holiday. But not all places are safe. Some places can be bad for your health, so beware. Take the North Pole for instance. If you travel to the North Pole and sit on a block of ice you will get polaroids. They will develop quickly out of nowhere and each one is different. They also take a long time to fade away.
Drinking tea or coffee can be hazardous too to your health. I used to get a sharp pain in my eye whenever I drank tea. I went to the doctor and he told me to take the spoon out of the cup first.
As we get older we are not as agile and quick on our feet as years gone by. My doctor gave me a bottle of vitamins to help build my strength. When I got home I was so weak I could not even open the bottle. I had to go back to the doctor and ask him to open it for me.
He told me to take a pill every other day; take one on Monday, skip Tuesday, take one on Wednesday, skip Thursday and so on. It worked for a while but all that skipping made me fall flat on my face.
The doctor changed the prescription. He suggested I drink a pint of stout beer every day. That worked. I bought a large barrel of stout which I had installed in the kitchen. When it arrived it took two big men to carry it inside. Two weeks later and I can now carry the barrel all by myself.
But you should never rely on what the doctor tells you. When I went to see my doctor to test my sense of humour, I saw a nun come out of his insulting room crying her heart out.
I went in and asked him why the nun was crying so bitterly. He said he'd just told her she was pregnant.
"Is she really pregnant?" I asked.
"No," he replied, "but I have cured her hiccups!"
He then asked me to get on the couch. I asked him why, and he said he needed to vacuum clean where I was standing because his cleaner did not turn up for work. Apparently his cleaner did not turn up for work because her car broke down. She wanted to work from home but could not do so because the Zoom connection broke down also.
I found a pen on the floor and gave it to the doctor. "Is it
yours?" I asked. He wrote a few notes in a pad and said, "Yes,
"How are you so sure?" I asked him. He replied, "This is my handwriting!"
My friend went to the same doctor. He gave him some suppositories and advised, "Put one in your back passage before you go to bed, then come and see me after a week!"
My friend did not understand properly and every night he opened the back door and put a suppository on the kitchen window.
After a week he went to the doctor who asked him if he felt any better. "Those suppositories are useless," he said, "I might as well have put them up my backside for all the good they did!"
Also coincidentally, when I visited an old lady the other day I noticed she had a suppository in her ear. When I pointed it to her she said, "Oh dear ... I wonder where I put my hearing aid?"
The thing about good health though is an attitude of mind. One should not dwell and stress too much about it. A friend of mine is such a hypochondriac that he has arranged when he dies he'll be buried next to a doctor just in case.
Finally, remember that an apple a day keeps the doctor away; but garlic is more effective.
And more finally, don't forget that most doctors agree that breathing regularly is good for you.
Thursday, 30 June 2022
Tactile means "of or connected with the sense of touch." We have different senses like sight, smell, hearing, taste, spatial orientation (parking a car), and of course touch. What we don't seem to have much of these days is common sense. It is not as common as one would imagine.
But let's concentrate on touch; hence the word tactile.
Our bodies have different parts with different nerve endings to enable us to feel sensitivity to a greater or lesser degree. This means some parts of our bodies feel more than others. The tips of our fingers for instance. Did you know that the tips of our fingers can feel or identify a feeling smaller than one grain of sand. If you close your eyes and run your finger gently on a smooth surface you could feel and notice when you have touched something as small or even smaller than a grain of sand.
The tips of the finger can also identify whether something is wet or dry, sticky like glue or honey, smooth or sharp, and even temperature. However, that being said, it has always been traditional in some people to test the baby's bath water temperature by dipping the elbow in the water.
It is believed, (scientifically debatable), that the elbow is much more sensitive to temperature than running your hand or fingers in the bath water. Some people prefer to test the bath water with their ears but this is also not scientifically proven either. What has been proven though is that testing the water with your nose is liable to make you choke if you accidentally breathe in some of the water.
The tongue is also very tactile and sensitive. This has been proven by giving blind-folded people a piece of plastic sheet with different holes in them. Some holes were square, others round, triangular or rectangular. People were asked to identify the shapes with the tip of their fingers or with the tip of their tongue. More often than not the feeling from the tongue was more accurate.
The skin, which is an organ in itself covering the whole body, is sensitive to a greater or lesser degree in different parts of the body. For example, try sitting on a hedgehog or cactus and see how that feels.
Different stimuli can affect our sense of feeling. I like that song:
Feelings, nothing more than feelings,
Trying to forget my feelings of love.
Feelings, wo-o-o feelings,
Wo-o-o, feel you again in my arms.
Let me give you some examples. When Jesus entered Jerusalem in triumph the people sang and shouted "Hosanna!" A few days later the same people shouted "Crucify Him!"
Peter promised to be by Christ's side at all times. A few days later he denied knowing Him three times. And to some extent so did all the disciples who ran away in fear.
Here's another example from the Acts of the Apostles Chapter 28:1-6
"Once safely on shore, we found out that the island was called Malta. The islanders showed us unusual kindness. They built a fire and welcomed us all because it was raining and cold. Paul gathered a pile of brushwood and, as he put it on the fire, a viper, driven out by the heat, fastened itself on his hand. When the islanders saw the snake hanging from his hand, they said to each other, “This man must be a murderer; for though he escaped from the sea, the goddess Justice has not allowed him to live.” But Paul shook the snake off into the fire and suffered no ill effects. The people expected him to swell up or suddenly fall dead; but after waiting a long time and seeing nothing unusual happen to him, they changed their minds and said he was a god."
After Paul's shipwreck, the islanders first thought Paul was a criminal. then moments later they thought he was a god.
So how about us? Are we flippers who change our minds at a moment's notice? One minute we pray that we trust God and then the next we doubt that He is listening to our prayers or whether He will actually respond.
There is no point praying, "I trust you. I trust you". We should stop praying and trust Him instead.
When you were a child you did not run to your parents every few minutes shouting I trust you. You trusted them that they have your best interests at heart. As any good parents they sacrificed a lot for you; without a reminder that you trusted them.
How much more does your Father in Heaven care for you? Without the constant reminder, (to yourself perhaps), that you trust Him!
Wednesday, 29 June 2022
The family had gone to London for a few days. I was home alone. Hooray ... two days to myself to watch sports on TV.
No sooner the match started that the door bell rang. Who is it visiting me on a Saturday afternoon? I don't like visitors at the best of times, never mind Saturday afternoons.
It was some friends we knew from long ago. A married couple. We hadn't seen them for some three years or so. They were visiting town to see a friend just for the day and they thought they'd pop in to say hello.
I wish I could have said hello and shut the door again. I hesitated. (Wrong thing to do - never hesitate).
"Ehm ... I was going out ..." I mumbled.
"Oh sorry," she said, "is it a bad time?"
"Actually ..." I hesitated again, "it is a tragic time ... tragic ... that's the word!"
"Oh dear ..." she said her lip trembling, "whatever happened?"
"Are you OK old boy?" he said holding me, "you've gone all white!"
"Well ..." I mumbled again trying to think up a good lie to get rid of them, "the family is away in London, (which was true), and our pet chicken has just died. One moment it was alive and running happily, and the next ... dead!" I lied so convincingly I almost believed it, even though we don't have a pet chicken.
Then confidently I lied some more. Amazing how easy it is. "I was just going out to the pet shops to see if I could find another similar chicken before the family get home on Monday!"
"Oh ... you had me worried, old boy!" he said emptying the pipe he was smoking by tapping it against my wall, "I thought it was really serious. Tell you what? The friend we are visiting not far from here owns a small farm. A few cattle, sheep, ducks and chickens. I'm sure we can persuade him to let you have a chicken. Can we see the one which died so we get one similar? If he hasn't got one, I'm sure he'll know where to get hold of a similar breed!"
"Yes ... that's right," she said, "he has contacts in the farming community. Can we see the dead chicken?"
I hesitated again ... after a second or two, I let them in. They sat in front of the TV and I left to go to the kitchen.
Where the hell am I to find a dead chicken? I thought. Why is all this happening to me? In desperation ... amazing the stupid things you do when you're desperate ... I opened the freezer and found a frozen chicken from the supermarket. We usually have some frozen foods for emergencies ... and this was an emergency.
"It's ... it's frozen old boy!" he said pointing to the bleeding obvious.
My immediate thoughts were "Cryogenics". I could say that I froze the chicken in the hope ... in the hope ... that ... that ... that when the family get back perhaps we could have the creature stuffed by a taxidermist as a permanent memory of the happiness it brought us.
But then ... how could I explain that it was totally devoid of feathers and had lost its head and legs?
What possessed me to bring a frozen chicken as evidence of a live one which had just died moments earlier? How do I get out of this tight spot of my own making?
A light bulb switched on suddenly in my brain. I pride myself in my quick thinking sometimes.
"Of course it's frozen!" I said convincingly pointing out to him that I too recognise the bleeding obvious, "I froze it in the hope of cooking it tomorrow. As I said, I was just going out to the pet shops to buy a live one ... not a frozen one ... ha ... ha ... ha ..." I laughed stupidly.
Unbelievably ... they bought it ... they bought my story which even I did not believe. Purely because it was all a pack of lies. And they bought it.
They drove in their car and I followed them in mine to their friend's farm. Luckily, he had normal looking chickens. I chose one which they put in a small cage for me to drive back home with.
The family will be surprised ... and delighted ... that I got them a new pet whilst they were away as a welcome home present. I think I'm a great parent. Don't you?
Tuesday, 28 June 2022
Why is it that sometimes the whole world conspires to go against me? All I want is a quiet life minding my own business and largely ignoring everyone else. I am in no way prejudiced. I keep my distance from everyone equally. Including my mother-in-law.
This morning I had planned to take it easy, perhaps do a little gardening, sit in the sun a bit with a nice cool drink, talk to the birds and bees or even the dog. But did it happen this way? No ... I said NO !!!
No sooner I dozed off in the sunshine that I heard a noise up in the sky like a burning furnace or something ... Wooosh ... it went ... Woosh .... WOOOSH ...
I nearly fell off my chaise-longue. Oh yes ... I can be as sophisticated as the next man. Or if there's a woman sitting nearby ... as the next woman.
Up in the sky there was one of those hot air balloons with a big furnace type contraption blowing hot air and a wicker basket underneath with a man inside it.
A voice from above shouted, "WHERE AM I?"
I replied, "You can't fool me, mate. You're in that basket attached to the balloon."
The contraption responded with, "Wooosh ... Wooosh ..." as he floated away.
I went indoors to tell my wife what happened. She was not too interested but had a long shopping list of items for me to get from the supermarket. I pretended to have hurt myself when I fell off the chaise-longue. She said don't be a snob it is only a plastic chair.
She decided to drive to the supermarket and pick me up later when she had finished her many chores.
I did the shopping as quickly as I could. Our supermarket has automatic self-service check-out machines whereby you scan your own goods and pay by credit card yourself. I like them because I don't have to be pleasant to the check-out assistants on the other machines.
I scanned all my shopping. The machine would not accept my credit card. I tried another card. Same thing. I called an assistant and tried hard to be pleasant. She could not get the machine to work. She suggested I move to another self-service machine and try again. I re-scanned all my shopping. This machine too would not accept my credit card. My stock of pleasantness was running low.
Another assistant suggested I move to one of those check-outs with an assistant in it. I put all my items in my trolley for the third time and moved to another check-out. There was a queue. I was third in the queue or line.
The shopper at the front, a very old lady of a 130 years of age, wanted to pay everything in pennies. She counted all her coins on the counter. Why can't people have their money ready? Or pay by credit card, or do their shopping on-line? There is a limit to my patience and good-will you know!
The shop assistant was like a dummy with a University Degree in stupidity. She sat there doing nothing. The old lady did not have enough money for her shopping. I decided to take matters in hand.
I left all my shopping on the conveyor belt and moved forward to the front by-passing the young man dressed in lycra pants who was second in the queue.
Don't you hate those close-hugging lycra pants that cling to your body revealing every contour and curve? I don't mind women wearing them ... but men look as if they have hidden some vegetables in the front of their pants!
Anyway, I moved to the front and offered to help the old lady. I felt sorry for her. I suggested I help her put all the shopping she could not afford back on the shelf. The check-out assistant said this won't be necessary. Turned out the old lady had enough money for her shopping and she left.
Then she scanned the second person in the queue. Turned out that lycra man is super modern and wanted to pay using his cell-phone. I did not know you can do that. You type a code on your cell-phone and put the phone next to the credit card paying machine and hey presto you have paid for your shopping. But it was not hey presto ... the cell-phone ran out of electricity or battery or whatever makes it work. He did not have any cash on him. No wonder ... nowhere to put the cash in those tight lycra pants. Not even amongst his vegetables.
He had a credit card. I wonder where he swiped it to pay. He took his shopping and left.
It was now my turn and I was running out of patience, goodwill and kindness towards everyone.
As soon as the check-out assistant picked up my first item her cell-phone rang. Now I think she should have ignored it. She didn't. She spoke in the cell-phone and then burst out crying.
Turned out that her grand-mother had just died.
Now I don't know how to deal with situations like this. Do I move to another check-out?
I said to her, as kindly as I could, "look miss ... your grand-mother will still be dead in a few minutes from now. Could you perhaps scan my shopping and cry later?"
She cried some more. I mean ... no consideration for the customers these days ... she was crying on my time ... If she did not have a cell-phone she would have been crying later anyway.
Another assistant turned up. They discussed the matter and the second assistant took over and the first one went away. The machine did accept my credit card.
I rushed out as my wife was arriving in the car park. She said she'd been driving round the block for the last half-hour. How long does it take for me to do a little shopping? I am inept and useless.
Monday, 27 June 2022
MORE OF MY HUMOUR TO KEEP ME AMUSED … HA … HA… HA …
If Dracula can’t see his reflection in the mirror, how come his hair is always so neatly combed?
I have crossed a homing pigeon with a woodpecker. It not only delivers the message; it also knocks on the door.
A naked woman robbed a bank - Nobody could remember her face.
Nuns wear the same outfit every day. Must be a habit, I guess.
Due to inflation, a picture now only paints 200 words.
Studies say most stabbings are committed by someone close to the victim. Within arm’s length, to be specific.
I asked my dog what’s two minus two. He said nothing.
Did you know Bruce Lee has a faster older brother? Sudden Lee.
The shortest sentence is “I am.” The longest sentence is “I do.”
A cop pulled me over and asked me, “Where were you between 5 and 6?” I replied, “Kindergarten.”
I visited a postcard factory yesterday. It was good, but nothing to write home about.
Whoever said nothing is impossible is a liar. I've been doing nothing for years.
I used to be in a band, we were called 'lost dog'. You probably saw our posters.
I changed my password to "incorrect", so anytime I forget and enter the wrong thing, the computer tells me what it is.
Sunday, 26 June 2022
"I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you." John 15:15
I believe Jesus here is saying this to all of us, because all of us have heard and hopefully accepted His teachings that came from God, His Father.
But what does He mean by "friends".
My dictionary describes "friend" as: a person with whom one has a bond of mutual affection, typically one exclusive of sexual or family relations.
This description is important - a bond of mutual affection; mutual trust, mutual understanding and caring. A friend is someone who would do anything for you if he possibly can.
Often one hears married people describing their spouse as a friend. This is more than just a sexual partner, a parent to one's children, or a companion in life. To describe your spouse as a friend means that that person really cares for you, and your well-being. That that person will confide in you and you in them. That you trust each other above all else.
This is what Jesus is offering here.
Perhaps we don't understand the full meaning of what He is saying. Jesus is offering His friendship; meaning that we can fully trust Him to take care of us whatever the circumstances. We can confide in Him and be certain of the outcome of His love for us and His caring.
Can we honestly say that we accept this friendship in its full meaning and implications? Or is our friendship reciprocated with conditions and provisos? Do we truly trust Him without a shadow of a doubt that He will see us through whatever life throws at us? Or do we trust Him with a safety net ... just in case? Do we trust Him, but yet wonder or harbour a doubt that He will respond to our needs?
There are no two ways about it. Jesus is offering His friendship because we have heard and accepted the Word of God, His Father.
The ball is in our court now. We need to decide. Because sooner or later He will ask: Why have you doubted Me?
Saturday, 25 June 2022
I don't know about you ... in fact I hardly know you and we've never met ... but as for me, sometimes I wake up grumpy. At other times I get out of bed silently and let her sleep. No point starting the day with more reminders of how inadequate I am.
If I am that way inclined and I feel kind-hearted I go downstairs and bring her a nice cup of tea in my pyjamas. Is she grateful? No ... she says she prefers it in a cup.
Another morning irritant, at least once a week, are the trash or refuse collectors people. They come very early in the morning with their large heavy and noisy vehicles and make enough clatter and clamour to raise the dead.
The green container is for garden refuse like grass cuttings, hedge clippings and twigs and small branches and the like. Don't you dare put potato or carrot peelings or even cabbage and lettuce leaves in there. I know they are compostable like grass and leaves but they should go in the black bin.
And then we have an orange bin for re-cycled material. You need a University Degree in stupidity to know what is and what is not recyclable. Metal cans and tins, yes; metal foil you use to wrap meat when roasting or sandwiches, no. Plastic bags used to purchase pasta, rice, cereals, and other dry foods - read the label on each packet because some is recyclable and some not. The list goes on and on as to what is and what is not allowed in the recycled bin.
I usually don't bother and throw the list in the green bin - it is a "leaflet" after all!
As I was saying before I got distracted, the trash people have this heavy lifting gear at the back of their lorry and they make a racket as they lift each container and tip it upside down to empty it. Then they leave the empty container wherever they feel like it, not return it to its proper owner. I usually have to take a bus ride to go and retrieve mine which is left miles away.
The containers are emptied in rotation every week: one week trash, another week garden refuse and then recyclable. Neighbours usually copy each other and bring out the container similar to their neighbours. I get my own back by bringing out very early in the afternoon the wrong coloured container. All the neighbours copy me and bring out the same colour container. Late at night I bring my container back in and bring out the right coloured container.
The following morning only my container is emptied. And all the neighbours phone the authorities to say their trash has not been collected.
It's me versus the world, as I said earlier.
And another thing that irritates me no end. There are signs everywhere in our street saying pick up your dog's poo when he poos in the street. It seems that dog owners are just as illiterate as their pets.
The other day I stepped in some dog poo. I stood by the tree trying to clean my shoe when a big man passed by and stepped in the same poo. I said, "I've just done that!" He punched me in the face.
People are getting so violent these days. So much pent up anger. And so much stupidity around too; it's so wide spread it seems to be catching.
There was a story on TV about some flood somewhere or other; it was raining so hard with high wind. They told us not to go out unless absolutely necessary; like throwing away your mother-in-law's unwanted presents.
And there on TV was a stupid reporter getting soaked in the rain next to the river telling you how dangerous it is out there. Why do they do that? Why send someone out to prove the obvious? They say "and now here's our reporter from London" then for the sake of balanced reporting they show you a reporter from Aberdeen in Scotland, Cardiff in Wales and another one in Northern Ireland. Four reporters and their film crew soaking wet in case you don't know what rain looks like.
And to ram the point home they then interview a household that has been flooded and they ask the home owner "how do you feel about this flood?"
What an idiotic question from a moron in training. What do you expect as a response? "Oh ... I have always wanted a downstairs bathroom and swimming pool; now we got one for free including the floating excrement from the overflowing sewers!"
It's the way the newsreaders and TV interviewers patronise you as if you're an idiot that irritates me. They mention someone important in the news, like; "The Pope has lost his cat!" and then they show you a picture of the Pope as if you don't know who he is, and for good measure a cat as well. They mention a well known politician or leader of a country and show you his photo.
And it's not just on TV; in real life too you're patronised. I remember distinctly when we were pregnant; not me of course ... my wife. We went to these "pre-natal classes" where we were shown pictures of babies being born and treated like ignorant fatheads. We were told how the husband should be with his wife at the delivery room and offer comfort and support and encouragement and ... hold on ... let me check my notes ... I had them here a moment ago.
At the end we were asked if we had any questions. I asked, "Is it OK to take a few cans of Guinness in the delivery room?" The person giving the lecturer, a senior midwife from the hospital, told me sternly that alcohol is not allowed anywhere on the premises and it is forbidden under some hospital rule or another. It's in my notes somewhere ...
As I said before; it seems I am the only sane one in this world. Everything is going wrong nowadays and people are behaving as if they've lost any common sense that has never been common in the first place and is now more extinct than ever.
No wonder I wake up grumpy sometimes. It makes a change to hear it from her too!
Oh ... before I forget ... have you noticed how prices are going up everywhere? Everything costs more these days. Although I'll admit I have used this to good effect.
I have now taken to wearing very old, dirty and torn clothes when I go out. It stops beggars asking me for money. The other day a woman was going to give her half-eaten sandwich to her dog, but she offered it to me instead.
Isn't that kind? There's hope for this world after all!